Jan 30, 2010

Wheee, I've got a blog ;)

There are times when even almighty google can't give a clear solution to some simple-enough problem, and it seem to be happening more frequently so far, so I thought I better write it all down somewhere, so here goes...

The idea formed quite a while ago, but I've always either dismissed it as useless or was too lazy to implement it.

Not that it's any difficult to start a blog these days, but hosting it on some major software platform like blogspot doesn't seem right to me, since I got too used to be able to access the code and tweak anything I don't like (yes, open-source has got me), and that should be pretty much impossible there.

Other extreme is writing my own platform from scratch.
Not a bad thought altogether, but too much of a wasted effort, especially since I don't really like web development, web design and associated voodoo rituals.
Besides, it'd be too buggy anyway ;)
So, I thought to get my hands on some simple and working out-of-the-box blog engine and fit it to my purposes as needed.
Since don't like php, 95% of such engines were out of question.
Surprisingly few platforms are written on py or lisp, and I wasn't fond of the idea of weaving separate cgi/fcgi module into my site.
Although it wasn't much of a problem with twisted, since control over request handling there is absolute and expressed in simple py code, I've stumbled upon my long-neglected google-apps account and a bloog project.
Having played with gapps about two years ago, I really liked the idea: you get all the flexibility you want without having to care about things like db and some buggy api for it in the app, authorization and bot-protection, content serving mechanism, availability, even page generation, since google has django for it. In a nutshell I got a very simple representation layer between gdb and django, easy to bend in any way I want. As a bonus, bloog is not just simple and stupid tool, but quite nice and uniform restful api with YUI-based client.
Two evenings of customization and I'm pretty happy with the result and completely familiar with the inner workings of the thing. Thanks to Bill Katz for sharing it.

All in all, it's an interesting experience. Blogosphere seem to have evolved into some kind of sophisticated ecosystem, with it's own platforms, resources, syndication rules, etc. While I'm pretty sure I won't blend in, at least I can study it a bit.

So ends the first entry. Quite more of it than I've expected, actually.
More to come? I wonder.